It became an experiment for me. I had never been much of a conventional, bookish scientist at school – the tables of chemical compounds and values had seemed like another language, wholly inexplicable to me, and cutting up frogs was repulsive. However, the concept of experimentation appealed in some manner. The precision of the experiment and the controls, the keen observation and recording of results had something of the artist about it. An hypothesis must be tested from all angles, much as a painting must take into account the three dimensional subject replicated in a two dimensional form. Aspects of light, of movement, of physics and even of humour should be displayed in art. Proportion, balance, the occupancy of space and time – all these are common both to the arts and to science. At some point they may intertwine, and this may be what magic is in the final analysis. Like this magic of my own that I sought to test.
I had to determine tests that were unlikely but possible – I could not have him flying in the air or turning into some shapeshifted animal – this was absurd. Somehow I knew, I intuited, the limitations of this new potential power. I could only move my will in accordance with general physical possibilities much as a god might be constrained after establishing the framework of existence. Aspects within reach had to be consistent with the scene in which he had appeared to me – I could not imagine his life outside of this piazza and so could have no confidence in enforcing situations beyond these bounds – and even had I felt capable of this, I would have no way to test the efficiency of my will in places beyond my experience.
Nor, though my greedy heart already wished to fashion in this manner, could I accurately paint love and adoration. I could paint with love, but how to portray it returned? I was afraid of rushing too soon into this unknown field, and already aware that my own imagination had its limits, and therefore so must my art. Can you paint the look of love such that it is impossible to interpret it in any other manner? At best I knew I could paint situations that were suggestive of love. But that should wait until the power itself had been thoroughly examined for its replicability and its endurance. If I were to paint, for instance, a meeting between us, I needed to know that it would occur reliably as painted. This Peirot would not search out his Columbine without certainty. I feared the pain of rejection far more than the discomfort of denial.
So the experiments began. Fashion was tested a number of times – each time slightly more daring or more unusual than the last. Each time my paintings came to life. By the fourth morning, seeing him in purple slacks and platform shoes (ridiculous on a tall man such as himself) I became confident, and almost chided myself on the point that I had tested my love to the stage of absurdity. The looks he received that morning were not entirely ones of admiration – often a look of perplexed wonder trailed in his wake. He saw this no more than any other gaze in his direction so he was not hurt by my experimentation, but still I felt ashamed to place him in this position.
It may even have been that I momentarily wanted to bring him down, closer to my level, and this is absurd, it could never be, but the willful heart that is learning its power is as narcissistic as a child. I resented the brightness of his youth, his potential, his beauty, even as I adored it.
I then tried more ambitious tests. Meetings of types of people. I expected to fail, for how can I fashion people out of nothingness? But perhaps I had some concept of the types of people he would know – and perhaps there are only so many types of people anyway, so the movement from canvas to real life is not as hard as I might have suspected. The experiments were not entirely successful however – hair colours would be wrong, or stature – even on one occasion the sex of the person – but if I painted him meeting someone, he did, and there would be enough identifying characteristics that fit to outweigh any slight imperfections.
I learned from this that the power was better to the degree that you knew your subject. But it had some resonance nonetheless in absence of such knowledge.
In my numerous tests I made him more popular and social than he had earlier seemed. I grew tired of this and jealous of the companions I had summoned for him through paint and brush. I moved on to changing his inclinations slightly. I would have him arrive from a different direction, or paint his gait as slower. I felt bad for the latter, it came about quite clearly from him having injured himself, a sprained ankle it seemed. He limped. I painted him a speedy recovery of course.
I tested for one whole month. There was no stage where a painting did not come predominantly into being. I grew in knowledge of my power. I grew more confident. I knew I could be one of those who met him, apparently accidentally, but paint a welcoming response from him. From there, nature would have to take its course, but I felt confident of a beginning.
And for me a beginning was more than I had ever dared to hope for. I would meet my love, I would learn his name and of his life. I could reach out from my shell and know I would be received.
I was intoxicated with the power and the promise of love.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved